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It's a Girl! Dickinson New Year Baby

Last year was crammed full with a plethora of bad news, we should know, but for every night sky there is a new dawn and for Travis and Jonna Bertelsen the sun’s rays came a little early on New Years day with the birth of their 8 pound, 4 ounce and 21 inch baby girl, Renleigh Jane Bertelsen — Dickinson’s New Year baby.

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Renleigh Jane Bertelsen, Dickinson's 2021 New Year Baby, born at 12:01am. Parents are Travis and Jonna of Beach, ND (Photo Courtesy of CHI St. Alexius Health)

Moments before the end of the decade Jonna found herself in the delivery room with the distant sounds of fireworks keeping cadence as she pushed through the pains of 2020 until, suddenly chiming in on the celebration, a tiny scream. As the Western Edge entered the new year, Renleigh entered life at 12:01 am.

The Press have been unable to confirm, but it appears that Renleigh’s birth one minute after midnight ranks among the first births of the new year in the United States.

On the evening on New Year’s Eve in Beach ND, Jonna’s water unexpectedly broke. She and Travis started their hour-long drive to CHI St. Alexius Health in Dickinson.

“When we went into labor it was a bit of a panic, but we weren't really able to think about it,” Jonna Bertelsen said. “I just kept telling my husband, ‘Get me there so I can get an epidural, I don't want to feel any pain,’ cause I never went into labor before so I didn't know how long it was going to take.”

Relief fell over the soon to be new parents when on arrival at the hospital, the staff of the hospital gave great care to provide the utmost comfort and care. This would be their third child so they already knew the drill, but excitement came with Renleigh deciding to come out a week and a day early.

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“It was stressful when it happened, but once we got to the hospital we could relax. It was exciting because we knew everything would be okay,” said Jonna Bertelsen.

Nurses and staff members galvanized the young couple with words of inspiration and guidance as the young mother’s delivery process began. Silence fell for a brief moment as eyes darted to the clock and the sudden realization came that perhaps...if timed right, Renleigh’s birth could be the first of the year.

“It was in the back of our heads of having a New Year baby, because we kept getting asked about it. The doctor kept coming in and telling us, “I think you are gonna be pretty close, either right before or right after New Year,’” Jonna said. “

Jonna Bertelsen was in labor for nearly four hours and It wasn't until 11:50 p.m. when the show really started. Jonna Bertelsen knew it was 2021 when the nurse and her husband Travis’ iWatches started to go off with the accompanying sounds of fireworks.

“Right when I was delivering her and pushing fireworks started going off outside, I could hear popping off in the background. It was kind of a cool way to start the new year,” said Joanna Bertelsen.

After two quick pushes with the clock striking midnight, Renleight was born.

“2020 was such a crappy year, it was awesome to bring some good into the world. It was a

light of fresh air for everybody, she definitely completed our family.” she said. “The hardest part was going into labor and not being able to have anyone come see us, not even our kids.”

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Jonna Bertelsen added, “It was kind of nice to be just us three, to take a step back, but then it's always nice to have your family around too … My parents and [Travis’] parents are all very involved with our kids, so It was difficult for our families not being able to see her until we got home.”

The Bertelsens and their daughter have returned home and introduced Renleigh to her big brothers Rhett, 3, and Ryker, 18 months old. Jonna Bertelsen mentioned that her oldest, Rhett, has taken the role of big brother with great stride while Ryker is still getting used to no longer being the baby anymore.

“The second one, Ryker, was supposed to be a girl so in the back of my mind I always wanted a little girl and now we have her and we are done!”

Jonna said that Renleigh sure made the “situation exciting,” but also in a rare oddity, the parents of Dickinson’s New Year baby personally know the parents of Bismarck's New Year baby.

“It's funny because the New Year baby born in Bismarck is my really good friend's sister Bree. I've known Bree since she was little so it was pretty crazy,” Jonna said. “She had hers at 1:01 a.m. which means we technically had them at the exact same time!”

Related Topics: DICKINSON
Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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